Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has just filed papers in D.C. Superior Court to dismiss his lawsuit against Washington City Paper and staff writer Dave McKenna over “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” which we published last November.
Since Snyder first sued over the story, City Paper and McKenna fought the case aggressively, eventually asking a D.C. Superior Court judge to dismiss it under the District’s new law against “strategic lawsuits against public participation.” And of course, we’ve also continued to write about the Redskins—which, of course, we’ll keep doing.
Here’s our statement on Saturday’s news:
We are pleased that Dan Snyder has finally ended his gratuitous litigation against Washington City Paper and staff writer Dave McKenna.
From the beginning, we have believed that Snyder’s lawsuit was a baseless one, designed to intimidate a journalist and a publication that have been among his most persistent critics. We’ve also argued—in our pages, and in court—that our article never said any of the allegedly libelous things Snyder claimed it did. As we defended ourselves, we got unprecedented support from loyal readers who donated thousands of dollars of their own money to help us protect our rights. And we were fortunate to have an ownership group who understood the stakes and stood by us. We’re confident that the court would have seen things our way, too, thanks to the strong laws the District of Columbia has in place to protect free speech. But we’re also glad that it won’t have to go that far.
City Paper is a small news organization with limited resources, and defending ourselves against this lawsuit has cost massive amounts of time and money, well beyond the $34,308.91 that readers have contributed to our legal defense fund. Despite those costs, we are proud that we never wavered or allowed ourselves to be bullied, ultimately leading Snyder to dismiss his case. Though the District’s anti-SLAPP law says courts “may” have awarded us some of our litigation costs had we pursued them, we concluded that it wasn’t worth spending substantially more money, energy, and attention for what would have only been a chance of recovering a portion of what we’ve spent.
Today, we got what we wanted all along: dismissal of a case expressly designed to pressure us, and filed by a man who now apparently says he never even read the story in the first place. Now we’re eager to get back to our business of covering the city’s politics and culture—including its sports culture—without this distraction. And we hope the end of this case means Snyder can get back to focusing his energy on making our shared home team as good as it can be.